The Report of the Troy Police Department Inspectional Services Bureau (ISB), conducted by Captain Joseph Centanni,1 is released by court order over the objections of Troy Mayor Madden and city officials.
According to the Times Union, "The [Centanni] report, which is dated Sept. 28, 2018, was never made public or disclosed to the attorneys for Cinthia Thevenin, whose federal lawsuit accuses the city and Sgt. Randall French of civil rights violations and other abuses that led to the shooting death of Edson Thevenin.2
This report clearly holds Sergeant French responsible for escalating the situation with Edson Thevenin. Centanni concludes that Sergeant French aggressively rammed Mr. Thevenin’s car off the road and into the barrier that morning.
While the Office of the Attorney General's report describes contact damage caused by the collision of French's and Thevenin's cars, the OAG report never considers the possibility that Sergeant French might have run Edson Thevenin off the road.
Centanni's internal Troy Police Department report concludes for the first time: the forensic evidence proves conclusively that Sergeant French’s police car sideswiped Edson Thevenin’s car while both cars were still moving, forcing it to swerve off the road and crash into the barrier.
This information, with photographs showing the matching damage on the two cars, comes from an extensive analysis by a vehicle forensic expert hired to perform an accident reconstruction. It directly contradicts French’s claim that the cars made contact only after Edson Thevenin crashed into the barrier.
The Centanni Report corroborates the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) report that Sergeant French immediately jumped out of his police car and deliberately stepped in front of Edson Thevenin’s car, shooting a fatal bullet head-on through Mr. Thevenin’s windshield BEFORE being pinned between the vehicles as French claimed.
Centanni's Report also states: “Based on the empirical information as it relates to Sergeant French’s shooting position, the hollow groupings [bullet holes] in Thevenin’s windshield, and witness testimony, Sergeant French’s version is inconceivable.”
The Centanni report states that the two bullet holes entering the driver’s side of Mr. Thevenin’s car could not have been fired from the position from which French claims to have fired them, pinned between the cars, but instead from at or near his driver door. This conclusion matches a similar conclusion in the OAG’s report indicating that French could not have fired all bullets from the same position – pinned between the cars – because the angle of the bullet holes indicates a moving shooter firing from more than one position.
This would lead a reader to conclude, although the report does not state, that French first shot Mr. Thevenin immediately on exiting his police car, that is, immediately after arriving on the scene and sideswiping Mr. Thevenin’s car and ramming it into the barrier. Only after shooting these two bullets head-on through Mr. Thevenin’s windshield did French become pinned between the cars. At that point Mr. Thevenin had been struck by one or more bullets and could not have been in control of his car.
This is significant because Officer French and the city argue that French killed Edson Thevenin in self-defense, firing all eight rounds from a pinned position upon being threatened with a deadly weapon, namely Edson Thevenin’s car.
The OAG report casts serious doubt on this claim and the internal police report destroys its credibility entirely.
Centanni concludes, "As described in Allegation #1, Sergeant French engaged in several reckless acts which dramatically increased the likelihood of a violent confrontation with Thevenin upon Sergeant French's exit from his police vehicle. As a result of Sergeant French's lack of justification under those circumstances, Sergeant French is EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE for the circumstances which led to the discharges that occurred while he (Sergeant French) was immobilized between the vehicles." (Centanni Report, p. 46).
"These reckless actions by Sergeant French dramatically increased the likelihood of a violent confrontation with Thevenin and are diametrically opposite the training provided to TPD members. In summary, Sergeant French is principally responsible for this outcome." (Centanni Report, p. 44).
What any impartial observer can conclude after reading this internal Troy Police Department report written by French's fellow police officer: Randall French chased Edson Thevenin and drove him off the road with the intent to murder him.